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defend himself; to indulge and gratify the social tendencies of his being; to develop his physical, mental, moral, and social powers, according to their capacity, demonstrate his formation a folly, his existence a failure, on any other principle than that of a social state.
Now if the principles and reasonings contained in the preceding remarks establish, às we think they do, the social character of human nature, government, being essential to such a state, is therefore necessary to the continued existence of the race. Ethical writers, or writers on natural law, take this view of the question, and attach such importance to the doctrine, as to tell us that man cannot exist without it; and that therefore any form of government is preferable to anarchy. The Holy Scriptures recognize this principle, not only by implication, from the historical account they give of the social state in which the race has been preserved, and the relative duties enjoined, growing out of such a state; but by positive precept, as contained in the following passages :-“ Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers; for there is no power but of God. The powers that be are ordained of God.” Rom. xiii, 1. “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake : whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evil-doers, and for the praise of them that do well." 1 Pet. ii, 13, 14. Now an institution lying thus deep at the foundation of human nature, and so clearly ascertained, certified, and authenticated, as being essential to our continued existence, cannot, when once established, be lightly regarded with impunity. And the inquiry here forces itself upon us : What is its relative position in the
Divine administration over the world? Is it subordinate to the spiritual power, or the Church, as has been claimed and practised by Popery ? Or is it the supreme rule of duty, under the limitations and restrictions of the Divine law, and, as such, binding upon the conscience, regardless of the moral character of the executive, or subordinate officers of the law ? This latter view seems to us to be the true state of the question; and, as will be immediately shown, is capable of the most clear and irrefragable demonstration. As just seen, man cannot exist without society; and society cannot exist without government: government, therefore, is essential to the existence of the
The Church is only needed in the continued existence of the race: therefore, as the inevitable consequence, her subordinate position. And such seems to be the light in which it is presented in the New Testament « Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples, with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man; for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us, therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Cæsar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites ? Show me the tribute-money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Cæsar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Cesar the things which are Cæsar's; and unto God the things that are God's.” Matt. xxii, 15–21.
“ Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me?
knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.” John xix, 10, 11. Other passages might be quoted, but these we think sufficient, in which the blessed Jesus, under the most public and trying circumstances, asserts the supremacy of the civil power, and that power to exist by divine appointment: “ Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above."
Therefore, whatever may have been the state of this question in the Jewish Church; and whatever arguments might thence be drawn, in regard to the elevated position of the spiritual power during its continuance; when it was superseded by the Gospel Church, its power in this particular, as well as many others peculiar to the Mosaic institution, passed away, giving place for the introduction of a kingdom not of this world. Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews : but now is my kingdom not from hence." John xviii, 36. “And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you ?” Luke xii, 13, 14.
" And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed : and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever," Dan. ii, 44 ; that is, it shall not be blended with the secular or civil power, as was the Jew
ish Church. Accordingly we find, in the teaching and example of Christ and the apostles, a recognition of the separation of the Church and State, Luke xii, 14; and also of the supremacy of the civil power in all the duties of civil or organized society. Matt. xvii, 24-27 ; Luke xx, 25; Rom. xiii, 1-7; Tit. iii, 1 ; and 1 Pet. ii, 13, 14. Therefore we conclude, that whatever we, as individual members of the Church, and as subjects of the civil power, may regard as our duty toward the government under which we live, it is not competent for the Church, in her organized capacity, to array herself against the powers that be, or any of the civil duties legitimately growing out of the constitution under which we live, when they do not conflict with the law of God. If the constitution in its essential principles is good, and their practical tendency in detail is to secure the common welfare, it is our solemn duty, as citizens and as Christians, to support it, and obey all its clearly ascertained and properly accredited duties. For this we are responsible, not only as citizens and subjects of the civil government, by the laws of the state in which we live; but as Christians, by the more weighty consideration that these civil administrations are taken into the Divine administration, and that the God and Judge of all, who “ordained the powers that be,” will, in the final judgment, hold us responsible for any neglect of duty to the State.
If corruptions or abuses, tending to subvert the ends of good government, have by any means crept into an administration carried on under a constitution in itself good, it is then our duty, as citizens and as Christians, by petition, and all other peaceful measures provided under the constitution, to seek to
have such corruptions or abuses reformed. If the constitution be in itself a bad one, and the operation of its essential or accidental principles tend to the common injury, or the injury of any portion of the community, it then becomes our duty, both as citizens and Christians, to take the proper steps to have it entirely annulled, altered, or amênded, as will best secure the universal good.
Should it be inquired, Has the Church, in her organized capacity, nothing to do in this business-no part to act beyond the instruction of mankind in the principles and duties of Christianity, and building up believers in the faith of the gospel ? We answer, this is her direct and appropriate work—the mission God has given her to a sin-ruined world. In this, as her principal, her first great business, she is to be actively, vigilantly, and untiringly engaged. “Christ crucified, the power of God and the wisdom of God," and, we will add, the goodness of God and the justice of God, is, according to the Scriptures, to be the allabsorbing themethe moral lever by which to move the world, and move it in the right direction. All others are inefficient, as principles of reforming power, in the sense in which she is directly charged with the world's reformation.
True, the wide range of topics contained in the gospel, embracing every principle important to the happiness of man, as a civil, social, and moral being, presents various subjects of interest for the common good ;-such as the great doctrine of human rights, the common brotherhood of man, the peace and temperance movements, &c.—which should claim the attention of the Church, to elaborate and enforce them upon the attention and practice of the world ; and so